Democratic congressional leaders set the wheels in motion Monday to pass a sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus package with no input from Republicans as partisan debate over the next round of federal aid legislation intensifies on Capitol Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Monday that they were filing a joint budget resolution, the first step in a special legislative process that could ultimately allow Democrats to pass President Joe Biden’s massive stimulus plan without any Republican votes.
Biden’s plan has drawn criticism from some lawmakers that it is too expensive and that some of its costlier provisions, like another round of direct payments to Americans, aren’t targeted to those who actually need the money.
Among those critics are ten Republicans who will meet with Biden on Monday to discuss a $618 billion compromise plan they have developed, but their proposal has already drawn criticism from Democrats who say it is too small.
In a Monday briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the upcoming meeting is “not a forum for the president to make or accept an offer” and signaled that Biden believes the pared-back proposal is too small, adding that the risk when it comes to stimulus spending is “not that [Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan] is too big…the risk is that it is too small. That remains his view.”
Biden has also drawn criticism from Republicans—as well as conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia—who say that his party’s willingness to push large-scale stimulus legislation through Congress without GOP input is antithetical to his campaign message of unity.
Senate Budget Committee chair Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told ABC’s This Week Sunday that while he is willing to work with Republicans on stimulus measures, the needs of the country are too urgent to wait: “The issue is not bipartisanship…the issue is, are we going to address the incredible set of crises and the pain and the anxiety which is in this country?”
“With this budg